Legislation On The Way To Require Facebook, Twitter To Report Suspected Terror Messages
Social media networks, including Twitter and Facebook may soon be required to report to law enforcements terror-inciting messages as Senate Intelligence Committee approved a bill in a bid to counter or eradicate terrorism, news said.
Facebook’s current policy does not report to law enforcement terror-suspected messages as it does when the issue is pornography, although Facebook says it ensures no terror groups or terrorists will use the site.
Richard Clarke, ABC’s News consultant and a former U.S. counter-terrorism official, said, “It is very unlikely today that a social media company would turn around and call the police.” According to Clarke, social media networks would only terminate the account of a person suspected of scheming a terror assault.
The U.S. officials said terror groups including ISIS are using social media networks as part of their regular communication channels. They also send messages, urging followers to stage an attack, ABC News reports.
In the case of ISIS, Michael Clarke, Director General of the Royal United Services Institute says the Islamist extremist group banks on “social media for their battlefield communication.”
“In the era of social media, a phenomenon like ISIL [ISIS], unlike Al Qaeda of the old days, there does not have to be and won’t necessarily be a command-and-control relationship between somebody who instigates an accident and ISIL as an organization,” U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter was quoted by media.
“They are self-radicalized, self-organized people on social media. Are we concerned about that? Absolutely, we are concerned about it,” Carter continued.
The proposed bill will impose an obligation upon social media channels to report any information it may gain about terrorist activity. It does not require social media sites to make a special monitoring of a particular user.
But the bill, while being lauded by U.S. counter-terrorism officials, is being met with criticisms especially from civil liberties group.
Speaking on behalf of Electronic Frontier Foundation, Nate Cardozo, its staff lawyer said “in this American democracy, we don’t want our social media providers to be acting as essentially secret police.”
“There is a first amendment right to talk about terrorism. Discussing controversial political, religious, social events of our time is absolutely protected speech. And requiring social media providers to rat out their customers for engaging in their first amendment right to debate important topics is not something that is constitutional,” he continued saying which was quoted by ABC News.